WHAT IS A HOUSE FOR住宅所为何

Sérgio Fernandez: In the 50’s, some of the best Portuguese architects, including Fernando Távora, became involved in studying and documenting local vernacular architecture. A countrywide inquiry of impressive scale was organised to understand the logic and qualities of popular buildings. Even though the architects were fascinated by Le Corbusier and the international style, they realised that making a link with the traditions of our country was crucial to going forward. We lived for 48 years under a dictatorship that tried to ban any form of modern ideas. If something appeared modern, it simply would not get approved by the authorities. We needed to fight for it and manage to find ways to build.

Despite difficulties, the young generation was trying to introduce new qualities and continued to think critically. The house in Ofir became one of the first expressions of the emerging movement - it embodied the ambition to make modern architecture, whilst at the same time remaining tightly linked to our heritage and to our culture. 

Although the house looks relatively traditional, it is very modern. The general organisation of the house is extremely clear: one part is dedicated to services; another hosts the living part and the last contains the sleeping areas. Traditional houses never had such a scheme - three completely distinct and architecturally articulated zones never appeared in vernacular buildings.

It is important to underline that in classically modern architecture the three parts of the house would be perpendicular to each other, here on the contrary you find a subtle torsion, which opens the house unexpectedly to the landscape around. It is a sign that Távora’s architecture is not a rigid application of a dogma. The House in Ofir is made to stress the openness to its surroundings, not to follow a language. Távora wanted to create an interior space completely linked to the exterior and give the impression of being in between the pinewood trees, through which you would see the river.

In the living room, there is a very big window, held by a concrete beam. It connects the main space with the garden. Besides this, in order to pass from one area to the other, you have to cross the outdoor entrance space. It clearly emphasises the character of a summerhouse, a typology that first became popular in the modern culture. The windows in the rooms are similar to the traditional ones, but Távora drew them bigger than you would normally expect. Again, they subtly match the traditional shapes with a modern scale. 

Before construction, the land was completely flat. Távora made a little hill to enclose the space of the garden. Its main point is symbolised by a concrete fountain. The idea to connect the house with the site was interesting, but he went much further in modifying the natural topography to emphasise the spatiality. It was a very new attitude for us. It’s fantastic when you are there in this garden. You feel as if you were in a very generous, outdoor sitting room. For me, the scale is the most important aspect of this house. 

DO YOU THINK THIS TRADITIONAL LOOK ACTED AS CAMOUFLAGE - DURING A TIME WHEN IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO BUILD MODERN HOUSES THAT LOOKED LIKE MODERN HOUSES?

No, the idea of the roofs was Távora’s recognition of the need to make a house in which one felt at home. It was a research in intimacy. The inclined roofs help to emphasise a cozy character of the interior. When you are inside, it gives a special scale which is very familiar to us. Even though I have never slept in this house, each time I arrive there, I instantly feel very comfortable. 

WHEN IT COMES TO MATERIALS, VERY SPECIFIC ELEMENTS ARE UNDERLINED WITH COLOUR, DOES IT COME FROM TRADITION, OR WAS TÁVORA TRYING TO GIVE SOME HINTS THROUGH MATERIALS AND COLOURS?

The house is mainly white, the interior surfaces are painted stone, while the most evident sign of the relationship with traditional architecture - the chimney - is coloured. I think that Távora was very free in these choices. When he put colour on the big chimney, which in traditional architecture was usually not painted, it was a way to say: „We are here. This is our fireplace, our home”. It’s on a slightly higher level, which in winter emphasises the necessity of being enclosed and together, opposite to moving in all directions during the summer. The colour might have been used to underline contrasts or make the message clearer. 

TÁVORA WAS THE ARCHITECTURAL FATHER TO MANY IMPORTANT DESIGNER'S: WHAT WAS HIS MAIN CONTRIBUTION TO THE FOLLOWING GENERATION OF ARCHITECTS?

Tavora was my beloved teacher and mentor. As a student, he even took me to the last CIAM. I met all the authors of my books, it was fantastic. Especially, Ernesto Nathan Rogers - he was a very kind man, very similar to Távora. He was always saying that it was very important to assimilate information and sensations, something which cannot be taught and only comes naturally in life. At that time, it made an important impression on me. 

Well, I should say that the architectural production of Távora is great but is not the main thing about him. His most important qualities were the simplicity and complexity that he applied to whatever kind of activity he was involved in. I travelled many times with him to Egypt, Greece, etc. He looked at things in a very intense way and it was fascinating to observe.

I remember for example that we stopped at so many ruins in Greece that at some point we said: „From now on, we won’t stop at ruins that are lower than 20cm!” (laughing). We spent an entire night in front of the Parthenon, from afternoon to the next morning speaking about it. It was a real love for architecture, not for the effects of architecture.

I am becoming old, maybe I am already old, so sometimes I am sceptical towards the new. I see many things that, if we „squeezed” them, there would be nothing left. 

ARE YOUNG ARCHITECTS IN PORTUGAL STILL CULTIVATING TÁVORA'S HERITAGE?

I am 83, so I am not much involved anymore, but I still have intense contact with students. I believe that there are very good young people around. There is naturally a question about the influence of commercial pressures that we can’t ignore. However, I always think that young people are better than us. I also think I was better than my ancestors (laughing)! We are improving, I believe so.

It’s fantastic to look at how students react when they come and see my house or Távora’s or Siza’s. They recognise their subtle qualities, and they get enthusiastic about it. They can see the value of this kind of architecture. I believe the future is going to be very very bright! I say the future because the present is very bad, even worse with face masks (laughing)! 

WHAT WOULD BE THE MAIN LESSON OF THIS HOUSE FOR TODAY'S ARCHITECTURE?

We are in a very difficult moment now. Today we are used to graphic effects rather than living effects. As far as I am concerned, it is so much more important to be able to live in a space than to publish photos of it. I would say the house in Ofir gives a lesson in humbleness. The most important is that the people living there are comfortable and happy. When I was teaching in the faculty of Porto, we visited this house with the students every year to show them that thinking in terms of daily activities and pleasures makes a real difference. 

Usually, I say that houses that are not good for normal living are probably for geniuses. Mies’ Farnsworth House is one of the most important pieces of architecture to me, but we all know it’s very difficult to live there. We as architects, must do our very best to be real, especially when designing a house. Sometimes you can do extreme things like Farnsworth House, which is exactly the opposite of the house by Tavora. However, it needs to remain an exception, it’s not a recipe that we should use. 

13.07.2020

赛尔吉奥·费兰德斯: 葡萄牙50年代的那批最好的建筑师,包括费尔南多·塔沃拉,都不可避免地对当地乡土建筑进行过测绘与研究。为了理解那些受大众欢迎的建筑的逻辑与品质,一场全国范围规模惊人的调研被组织了起来。尽管那些建筑师们对柯布西耶(Le Corbusier)和国际式风格着迷,但他们也意识到,与我国传统保持联系对于项目的推进至关重要。我们有48年生活在专制政府的统治下,任何反映现代主义理念的形式都是被禁止的。哪怕仅仅因为看起来有点现代,项目便不会得到当局的认可。我们曾需要为此而斗争,或者试图寻找一些迂回的方法来建造。尽管困难重重,但当时的年轻一代依然试图引入新的理念,并保持批判性的思考。奥菲尔住宅(House in Ofir)便是这一进步运动第一批宣言式的作品——它体现了对建造现代建筑的雄心壮志,同时又与我们的传统文化遗产息息相关。

虽然这座房屋看起来比较传统,但其实是非常现代的。房屋的功能组织非常清晰:一部分专门用于后勤服务,另一部分用于起居生活,最后一部分用于睡眠。从来没有人这样设计一幢传统的房屋——三块功能上完全分开,但在建筑形式上又互相联系的空间,这可从没有在当地的乡村住宅里出现过。需要被重点强调的是,在经典的现代建筑中,这三个部分在平面上应该是互相垂直的。而在这里,你将发现一个微妙的扭转,房屋以一种出乎意料的方式,向周遭的景观开放。

这表明塔沃拉并不是教条地应用现代主义的理念。奥菲尔住宅的设计试图强调其对周遭的开放性,而不仅仅只是去做一个字面意义的开放。塔沃拉想要创造一个与室外空间完全融合的室内空间,使身处其中的人仿佛置身松树林中,并在树荫婆娑中看见涓涓河流。起居室中,有一个非常大的窗,一整根混凝土梁架在窗洞上方。大窗串联起庭院与建筑主体空间。另外,为了到达不同的分区,你不得不穿越室外空间。这便是夏日别墅的特点,而这一建筑类型,最初就是在现代文化中流行起来的。房间中的窗户与传统窗户相似,但是塔沃拉把窗户设计得比一般人想的要大。再次,这些窗户巧妙地结合了传统的形式与现代的尺度。

在施工前,建筑的场地就是平的。塔沃拉设置了一些小土丘,用来围合庭院空间。并在庭院中间用一个混凝土喷泉画龙点睛。尽管处理建筑与场地的关系上已经非常有趣,但是他想在调整自然地形以在塑造空间感上更进一步。对我们这代人来说,这是一种全新的理念。身处庭院中的感觉棒极了。就像身处一个广阔的室外客厅。对我来说,尺度是理解这所房子最重要的侧重点。

你是否认为,在这个时期,当看起来像现代建筑的现代建筑无法建成,传统的外表相当于一种伪装吗?

并不是,关于屋顶的理念,塔沃拉认识到住宅中需要一种家的感觉。这是关于亲密感的研究。倾斜的屋顶为室内空间增强了一种合身的感觉。当你身处室内,将感受到一种非常特别的尺度,但同时又是非常熟悉的。即使我从未在这所房子里睡过,每当我到那儿,都会立刻赶到非常舒适。

当涉及到材料时,塔沃拉会用颜色强调一些非常具体的元素,这是源于传统,还是塔沃拉试图通过材质与颜色给予一些暗示?

房子的主体是白色,室内表面是刷上涂料的石头,与传统建筑的关系最明显的标志,烟囱,被刷上了颜色。我认为塔沃拉在这些选择上非常随心所欲。传统上烟囱一般不会刷上颜色,而当他在大烟囱上刷上了颜色,作为一种表达方式,仿佛在说:“我们在这里。这是我们的壁炉,我们的家。” 相比夏天需要四处游走的感觉,冬天,需要稍多注重围合感与聚集感。这些颜色强调了这些对比,让暗示明显了些。

塔沃拉是许多重要设计师的精神导师;他对后辈建筑师们的的主要贡献是什么?

塔沃拉是我至爱的老师。当我还是学生时,他还带着我参加了最后一届国际现代建筑协会(CIAM)的会议。我遇见了我所有藏书的作者,这真是太爽了。特别是埃內斯托·內森·罗杰斯(Ernesto Nathan Rogers),他真是平易近人,并且和塔沃拉极为相似。他总是强调,自然而然地从日常生活中汲取信息与感觉至关重要,而这些,老师是教不会的。当时这一观点给我留下了深刻印象。

塔沃拉的建筑作品尽管很棒,但这还不足于展示他的全部品质。他最重要的特点是,他善于把复杂的事情简单化。并将此应用于他从事的任何类型的活动。我曾经多次和他一起去埃及,希腊等地。他看待事情一针见血。我记得我们当时在太多的古希腊废墟中驻足停留,在某个点他说道:“从现在起,我们就不要在那些低于20厘米的古迹中停留啦!”(笑)。我们在帕特农神庙前渡过了整整一晚,从下午到第二天早上他不停地讲述关于它的事情。他的真爱是对于建筑学本身,而不是建筑的表象。我正在变老,也许我已经老了,有时候我对新事物感到怀疑。那些我见得多了,就像用力拧毛巾一样拧他们,却拧不出一滴水。

葡萄牙年轻的建筑师们依然在塔沃拉的遗产上生根发芽吗?

我已经83岁了,很多事情我已经不管了,但是我与学生们依然有密切的联系。我相信我周围有很多非常好的年轻人。当然,我们不能忽视商业压力的影响。然而,我总是认为,年轻人比我们更好了。我也认为我比我的先辈们要更好(笑)!我相信我们在进步。当学生们来看我的,塔沃拉的,或者西扎(Siza)的房子时,看看他们会怎么反应,真是太棒了。他们感受到了它们微妙的气质,他们对此充满了热情。他们能看到这类建筑的价值。我相信未来将是非常非常光明的!我说到未来,因为现在非常糟糕,还要戴着口罩那就更糟了(笑)!

对于今日的建筑学,这所房子有何意义?

我们正处于非常困难的时刻。今时今日我们更习惯于追求图像效果而不是现场的体验。而我认为,比起发表一个空间的照片,身处其中的体验更加重要。奥菲尔住宅对我们的启示是,人身处其中感到舒适与快乐是最重要的。当我在波尔图的学院里教书时,每年我们和学生一起去参观这所房子,为的是展示,从日常活动与乐趣的角度进行设计思考,才是真正的不落俗套。

我常说,那些不适合正常生活的房子可能是为天才建造的。对我来说,密斯(Mies)的范斯沃斯住宅(Farnsworth House)就是此类建筑中最重要的一个。众所周知,生活在里面是非常痛苦的。我们作为建筑师要诚实,尤其是在设计住宅时。有时候,你可以做一点极端的事情,例如范斯沃斯住宅,这与塔沃拉的住宅完全相反。然而,这只是一个特例,并不是我们该有的设计态度。

2020713

Sérgio Fernandez

Born in 1937, Porto. He studied architecture at the School of Fine Arts of Porto and graduated, as an architect, in 1965. Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Architecture, University of Porto. Author of “Percurso - Arquitetura Portuguesa, 1930/1974”. He has taught in the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, Brazil, Angola, Panama and Colombia. Participated: in the Forum of Feísmo I and II, in Ourense, Spain, in 2005 and 2007, in the Architecture Debates, University of Seville, 2012, in the International Colloquium “Drawing + Project - dialogue between Porto and S. Paulo”, in the Campus of USP de S. Carlos., 2013, at the 15th Conference - International Planning History Society, S. Paulo, 2014, and at the IX International Seminar - Housing, Escola da Cidade, S. Paulo, 2014. Conferences: Escuela de Arquitectura de la Universidad de S. Buenaventura, Cali, Colombia, 2014, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, and Glasgow School of Art, in 2014 and Marques da Silva Foundation “Távora, Travel Design, Object Design”, Porto, 2016.

Selected published articles and works:  Architectures à Porto, Tendenze dell'Architettura Contemporanea, Casabella, Lotus International, Wonen Tabk and Electa, Deutsches Arcitektur Museum, Frankfurt, Jornal Expresso, Revista Monumentos and Bulletin of the University of Porto. Works in co-authorship with Alexandre Alves Costa.

Selected projects: Valorization of Idanha-a-Velha, 1995/2011, Redevelopment of Baixa Portuense, 2000, Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, Coimbra, 2002, Teatro Constantino Nery, Matosinhos, 2003, Monastery of Santa Maria de Seiça, 2017. AICA 2008 and Diogo de Castilho 2009.

Awards: Europa-Nostra Award, 2010. Gold Medal of the City of Vila Nova de Gaia.